Here's how you move into the 21st century:

Even as the NAACP engages in a tense debate over the issue of same-sex marriage, the group's leaders have begun reaching out more forcefully to gay rights groups. The outreach has been steered by former chairman Julian Bond and the group's president, Benjamin Jealous. 

Both men are supporters of same-sex marriage rights, though the NAACP's national board has taken no stance on the issue. Jealous, who is helping to lead a march for jobs and justice in Washington next month, will be in New York on Wednesday night to encourage members of the city's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to attend the rally. 

 "The NAACP is opposed to discrimination in all its forms." Jealous said in an e-mail, adding, "We recognize that many of our members are also members of the LGBT community, and just as the LGBT community counts on us to stand with it for basic civil rights protections, so we count on the LGBT community to stand with us in our unified struggle for the broader civil rights agenda."

Bond, who spoke at the National March for Equality organized by gay rights groups last fall, has compared the push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement of the 1960s - which he helped to lead. Bond also testified before the Senate last year in support of a law that would have barred the government from discriminating against gays and lesbians in its distribution of family reunification visas.

It's going to be a fight. Good to see these guys stepping up.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to